Does the accompanying partner have a negative or a positive impact on the expatriate’s own experience?

Data from the 2011 Brookfield relocation trends survey suggests that for the majority of spouses/partners the decision of accompanying an expatriate to a foreign country was made at the expense of their own careers, as around 60% of partners had a job before but not during the assignment. In addition to these employment problems, and apart from the cultural adjustment challenges that both face, partners may lack more social support and interactions than expatriates themselves: they do not have an office to go to, colleagues to interact with, and working routines to help stabilize the ups and downs of their ‘new life’. Thus, the adjustment and life abroad for an accompanying partner may be very stressful and challenging. Naturally, this situation will influence the expatriate him/herself and becomes an extra challenge to overcome during the assignment.

However, despite these problems, which may serve as extra difficulties to overcome for the expatriate him/herself, the majority still prefers to relocate with their partner. The 2011 Brookfield survey indicates that about 80% of expatriates are accompanied by their partners during the assignment. Why so? Maybe these numbers indicate that the partner is a key source for overcoming the challenges of relocating to a foreign place, by being supportive, helpful, and, most importantly, the closest person there for you.

So what do you think? Does an accompanying partner have a negative or rather a positive impact on the expatriate’s own experience?

11 thoughts on “Does the accompanying partner have a negative or a positive impact on the expatriate’s own experience?

  1. I think the theme of human relationships and in the case of the relationship can be positive or negative, as this relationship is in everyday life when they are living the situation. Whether or not expatriates. Living life together implies a life of mutual responsibility and genuine feelings on both sides.

    The difference is that expatriate status by living experiences are much stronger and if their relationships are highly successful, will enhance the living conditions of the expatriate / a.

    Mercedes Miyashiro

  2. Some interesting points raised here. I have to agree with Mercedes in the fact that an accompanying partner can have both a negative or positive impact. I feel that it is situational in most cases.

  3. I feel that an accompanying partner can actually have a negative effect. This is just based on my own experiences though, it could be different for others.

  4. An interesting point raised here. I’d have to agree that it is entirely situational as to whether or not a positve or negative effect will come from your partner.

  5. As both Sue and Steve have already said “an accompanying partner can actually have a negative effect”, as this totally relates to my own experiences.

  6. This is a complex issue. I think most couples, especially if they have children, don’t want to live apart for extended periods, so the logical thing is for them to move together. It’s probably easier to adapt to a new country if you go alone, but having your spouse and children with you doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative one. On the one hand, you have someone familiar, who you can talk to about your experiences, both good and bad. But on the other hand, the move can be stressful and cause tensions. I think it all depends on how you approach the situation. If you look at it as a family experience, it can be enriching for everyone, but if the move is forced, for career reasons, then it might not be a very positive experience. I think that for the experience to be positive, the relationship needs to be strong to begin with, and both parties need to go into the situation voluntarily and with a positive attitude.

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